Promising healthcare grade air purification, the $250 BioVYZR hazmat suit is being marketed as a “ground-breaking” piece of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) that could finally give people the confidence to start safely flying around the world while cocooned in their own atmosphere and protected against any viruses. It may well look like science fiction but the Toronto-based VYZR Technology hopes to start shipping the suits as early as next month.
Yezin Al-Qaysi, the co-founder of VYZR Technology, is clearly convinced that the BioVYZR is a winning design that will prove popular in the ‘new normal’ that COVID-19 has created. And he’s not alone, the company has already raised over $544,000 in investment to make the prototype into reality. It’s claimed that more than 50,000 eager shoppers have so far pre-ordered one of the futuristic devices.
Al-Qaysi claims the BioVYZR is a lot more practical than what it might at first appear. It’s all-weather design, comes with built-in peripheral windows to increase visibility, and a lightweight design should make it easy to wear. Built-in reversible gloves even allow the wearer to adjust their glasses or scratch an itch should the need to occur, without risk of contaminating themselves.
Powered with a rechargeable battery giving 12-hours worth of wear, the BioVYZR’s quiet fan filters air through a hospital grade N95 quality filter. The BioVYZR is “self-isolation without the social distancing,” according to the company – perfect, say, for crowded places – especially airplane cabins.
Whether one of these devices ever gets to fly, though, remains to be seen. Chances are no airline will let a passenger travel with one of these devices no matter how safe the wearer will feel.
There aren’t any federal rules that would necessarily stop someone wearing this extreme piece of PPE onboard plane – after all this is a unique new entrant in the market that regulators haven’t had time to consider. But there are other safety considerations apart from the risk of airborne virus transmission that airlines will be considering.
First and foremost, the issue of a rapid mid-flight decompression, however unlikely will no doubt ground this kit from being worn onboard a commercial jet. Remember, the BioVYZR filters air from outside, it doesn’t provide a supply of oxygen. Every second counts in a decompression – and the short amount of time it takes to remove the BioVYZR could be too long.
Then there’s the even rarer chance of an emergency evacuation. The bulk of the BioVYZR could slow down an evacuation and what if the wearer was asked to evacuate through a small over-wing exit? Would it fit? And even if it did, would it slow down the evacuation.
Again, every second counts.
And then there are the more practical day-to-day concerns. How long would you be willing to go without any food or water to remain in your protective environment? The full 12-hours? And if you do choose to remove it for some sustenance, where are you going to store it on a full flight?
Clearly, there are plenty of people who see the obvious benefits of this extreme form of PPE. The aviation industry may require a little more convincing.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.